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Kalyn's Kitchen

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef also has red bell pepper, onion, and basil and just the tiniest amount of brown rice. Use regular long zucchini if you don’t have these cute round ones and switch out the rice for cauliflower rice if you prefer. 

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Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef finished zucchini in serving dish

Back when I had a bigger garden I fell in love with cute round zucchinis, so when I saw these lovely striped Heirloom 8-Ball Zucchinis at the farmers market, I had to get some. And it’s almost August 8, when a neighbor might leave some zucchini on your porch, so I did appreciate the irony of buying zucchini when people are trying to give it away! But the heirloom 8-Balls were perfect for this Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef that has red pepper, onion, and basil with just 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice per serving (and you can switch that out for cauliflower rice if you want a low-carb option).

Of course you might not have cute round zucchini like this, but no worries. If you have regular long ones, just cut the zucchini lengthwise and use this recipe to make zucchini boats instead. And if you end up with some of those huge giant zucchinis, use my trick of making Stuffed Zucchini Cups.

Either way you make them, I think you’ll love this stuffed zucchini with fresh chopped basil and a generous amount of dried fennel seed adding layers of good flavor. And just in case someone does leave zucchini on your post on August 8, take a look at my 50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes for more help with how to use it!

What are Round Zucchini Called?

If you’d like to try growing these cute round zucchinis, one of the most common varieties is called 8-Ball Zucchini. Those are the ones I’d always look for when I had a big garden and was growing several varieties of zucchini. But there are are actually quite a few varieties of round summer squash in a variety of colors and round squash like this is grown all over the world.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef process shots collage

How to Make Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Cut the stem end off each zucchini, use a melon baller (affiliate link) or sharp spoon to scoop out most of the flesh and seeds of the zucchini.
  2. Microwave zucchini on high for 3-4 minutes. (Cook zucchini in the oven for about 15 minutes before you stuff them if you don’t have a microwave.)
  3. I cooked brown rice in advance is my beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker (affiliate link). You can use leftover cooked rice, or use frozen cauliflower rice if you prefer. (Let the cauliflower rice thaw on the counter for an hour or so, then lightly saute with the vegetables to make sure it will be cooked in the finished dish.)
  4. Saute the chopped onion and red bell pepper, adding the garlic, Spike Seasoning (affiliate link), and ground fennel when the vegetables are nearly done.
  5. Remove vegetables to a mixing bowl, then add ground beef to the pan and cook until it’s nicely browned.
  6. Add the cooked brown rice (or cauliflower rice), ground beef, chopped basil, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to the vegetable mixture and gently combine.
  7. Arrange zucchini in a roasting dish with tall sides. Fill each zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing it in tightly.
  8. Roast zucchini about 15 minutes, then top with the other 1/4 cup Parmesan and cook 10-15 minutes more.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef close-up photo of finished dish

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef makes a delicious dinner.

Make it a Meal:

Serve with something like Cucumbers CaesarBroccoli and Radish Salad with Gorgonzola, or Mediterranean Salad with Hummus Dressing for a carb-conscious meal.

More Zucchini You Might Like:

Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Zucchini Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
50 Amazing Zucchini Recipes
Low-Carb Grilled Zucchini Recipes
Low-Carb Recipes for Oversize Zucchini

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe will keep well in the fridge and can reheats easily for another dinner, so it’s has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week! You might even want to double the recipe and freeze some if you have lots of zucchini.

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef close-up photo of finished dish

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef uses just 1/4 cup cooked brown rice per serving, or switch it out for cauliflower rice if you prefer!


  • 4 large round zucchini (see notes)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or use another all-purpose seasoning blend)
  • 1 tsp. garlic puree (from a jar)
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (see notes for lower-carb option)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock


  1. Cook rice or take frozen cauliflower rice out of the freezer and let it start to thaw.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  3. For 8-ball zucchini, cut stem end off each zucchini to create a flat surface that’s just slightly smaller than the largest width of the zucchini;
  4. Then using a pointed teaspoon or melon baller, scoop out and discard most of the zucchini flesh and seeds.
  5. Leave an even 1/2 inch of flesh attached to the skin.
  6. For long zucchini, barely trim both ends of the zucchini; then cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh and seeds to leave a shallow boat shape. See this recipe for instructions on preparing zucchini cups from large zucchini.
  7. Microwave zucchini 3-4 minutes on high.
  8. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in heavy non-stick frying pan.
  9. Saute chopped onions and peppers about 3 minutes. ( If you're using frozen cauliflower rice, add to pan and cook it with the vegetables.)
  10. Stir in Spike Seasoning, garlic, and ground fennel, and cook 1-2 minutes more. (Vegetables will cook more in the oven, so they don’t need to be fully cooked at this point.)
  11.  Remove onions and peppers to large mixing bowl.
  12.  Then add 1 teaspoon more oil and ground beef to hot pan and cook until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.
  13.  Remove cooked ground beef to mixing bowl.
  14.  Add cooked brown rice (if using), chopped basil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and chicken stock to meat and vegetable mixture, and gently combine.
  15.  Choose a roasting pan with sides tall, just big enough to hold the zucchini.
  16.  Spray pan with nonstick spray or a light misting of olive oil.
  17.  Stuff zucchini with stuffing mixture, packing in as much as you can into each zucchini, and mounding it up as high as you can, until all stuffing is used.
  18.  Put zucchini into roasting pan, putting them close together so they hold each other up.
  19.  Roast uncovered 15 minutes, then sprinkle each with a bit of the reserved Parmesan.
  20.  Cook 10-15 minutes more, until zucchini is tender-crisp, and filling is hot and slightly browned.
  21.   Serve hot. This will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.


If you don't have round zucchini, use 4-6 regular long zucchini or make zucchini cups from a giant zucchini. If you want fewer carbs, use 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice instead of the rice. Let the cauliflower rice thaw on the counter for a bit, and saute it for a few minutes with the veggies to be sure it gets fully cooked.


Use turkey Italian Sausage instead of ground beef.

Use thin tomato sauce instead of the chicken stock.

Add some chopped olives to the stuffing.

Use sauteed mushrooms instead of or in addition to the red pepper.

Use feta cheese instead of the Parmesan.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 504Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 849mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 40g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef square image of finished dish

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef would make a great main dish or side dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. If you want a low-carb meal, use cauliflower rice instead of the rice, or try my very popular Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Zucchini Recipes to find more recipes like this one.Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef

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    42 Comments on “Stuffed Zucchini with Ground Beef”

  1. Stuffing things is always fun. When I did stuffed zucchini I hollowed out the whole zucchini without slicing it in half. Slicing it in half first sounds like it would be much easier. This stuffed zucchini look good. I like the round zucchini.

  2. thanks for the nod… 🙂 your dish looks great!

  3. Just saw your post mentioned by Amy Sherman at epicurious, and wanted to say congratulations too! 🙂

  4. Anonymous, I have no idea what is causing that problem. When I got this e-mail, I immediately went to today’s post and printed the recipe, no problem. I’m at school where they have Internet Explorer. I print recipes all the time at home too, where I use Firefox. I’ve never had any problems printing a recipe.

    I wonder if it is something in your printer settings. Can you check to make sure that you’re asking it to print the whole page. Let me know if you continue to have trouble.

  5. Kalyn, this sound delicious. However, I have had trouble printing your recipes for the last few weeks. I have tried from two different computers. It only prints an advertisement. The rest of the page is blank. Do you have any suggestions? I don’t want to miss out on any of your delicious creations! Thank you.

  6. Wonderful post and step-by-step photos, and congrats on the Epicurious mention!

  7. Your zucchinis are so healthy 🙂 The whole dish sounds super delicious!

  8. Stuffed zucchinis are terrific! I recently made some with Italian sausage.

  9. Looks beautiful … I love summer veggies!

  10. Thanks to all you zucchini lovers for stopping by. And how kind that no one has mentioned that I cut them the wrong way (on purpose, but I know some people are probably appalled.) Mrs. G, thanks, glad to hear you liked it.

  11. I made this for dinner and boy was it good! Thanks. I just added your link to my blog!

  12. This is such a yummy recipe! And healthy, too. I sure will love it.

  13. Hmmm… my sister has been dropping hints for the past few weeks about stuffed zucchini. She wants me to make this for her when I visit her in October (she does not cook by the way – though she does has a vague idea where the kitchen is but is not sure really what to do in it).

    I think I will try this out then. I used to use another stuffing mix for zucchini (incidentally called baby marrow in South Africa) but this looks way better.

  14. Kalyn – what a great step by step photo demonstration, thanks!!
    As for the recipe, it looks great…I can think of a million things I would want to do with the filling (one being “eat it straight out of the pan”)!!

  15. What gorgeous pics…looks and sounds very yummy!

  16. OK, that looks truly delicious!

  17. I really want to try 8 ball zucchini. The only place I saw it this summer was a market out of town when I was only window shopping.

  18. I always look for the smaller ones to stuff – use the big ones for bread or soup…
    Those little ones are darling! I’m going to plant some next year. And I love the stuffing; I’m a big fan of brown rice.

  19. You must have read my mind. Just bought a huge zucchini yesterday with this in mind. Thanks! 🙂

  20. Thanks for the zucchini ideas! I made bread and muffins over the weekend, but I still have more to use…thanks to you:)